Developing professional competence through a Legitimate

Health librarians: developing professional
competence through a Legitimate Peripheral
Participation model
Sara Clarke and Zoe Thomas
Royal Free Hospital Medical Library, UCL Library Services
[email protected]
[email protected]
mapping and recognising
the competencies that
health librarians gain on the
development of a
framework to frame
the learning of
health librarians
UCL Library Services
critical appraisal
study methodology
literature searching
grading evidence
systematic reviewing
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competences for …healthcare librarians providing
information literacy instruction to learners:
Professional competency
content knowledge
LIS concepts and processes
Personal information literacy
Healthcare concepts, vocabulary, subject knowledge
Good knowledge of relevant resources and systems
Technical knowledge…
Teaching skills…
E-learning skills…” p47
(Robinson & Hilger-Ellis 2005)
UCL Library Services
Image used from Mark Brannan on Flickr under creative commons
in order to become fully adept practitioners, health librarians also need to
develop knowledge of the particular needs of a ‘health professional’
audience, and the ability to speak with authority to that audience
UCL Library Services
“structured continuing professional development (CPD) is required to meet the
rapidly changing needs in the health sector. The emphasis ought to be on
teaching skills, outreach work, marketing and promotion, research skills and
methods, subject knowledge and terminology, and management skills. Library
school curricula do not appear to meet the demands of medical library posts…The
conclusions suggest that library schools need to update their programmes to
include teaching skills, advanced search skills, project management skills,
research methods, with more practical exercises.” p167
(Petrinic & Urquhart 2007)
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learning from a course vs learning on the job?
“I took the health care module [in my library course] – it was just kind of doing
things I had already experienced in my job. There is no substitute for
p171 (ibid)
Image used from Nationaal
Archief on Flickr
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“recent case-study work suggests that qualifications and training are partial
measures of skill development as most learning arises naturally out of the
demands and challenges of everyday work experience.” p359 (Felstead et al.
Learning as acquisition
Learning as participation
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Current situation for health librarians?
General certificate
gained on library
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Get first professional
Learning specialist
participation in job
Legitimate Peripheral Participation
“They propose that learning is a process of participation in communities of
practice, participation that is at first legitimately peripheral but that increases
gradually in engagement and complexity”. (back cover)
(Lave & Wenger 1991)
“The individual learner is not gaining a discrete body of abstract knowledge which
(s)/he will then transport and reapply in later contexts. Instead, (s) he acquires
the skills to perform by actually engaging in the process”. p14 (ibid).
learning how to do something,
not by reading about it but by actually doing it
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Legitimate Peripheral Participation
Used with permission from:
UCL Library Services
Zoe’s story…
Image used from Okinawa Soba (In Asia and Africa until August) on Flickr under creative commons licence
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Health Library staff
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Potential difficulties
• Best to start with new staff member
• Need to have - 1 trainee and 1 mentor - is this always practical?
• Limited opportunities e.g. training large groups
• In the current economic climate, how many new starters will there be
to pilot this?
UCL Library Services
The future
Possible future developments
Would certification of competence
(learnt on the job) be useful to
future employers?
Any questions or comments?
Image used from darkmatter on Flickr using creative commons
UCL Library Services
Eraut, M. 1994, Developing professional knowledge and competence Falmer Press, London.
Felstead, A., Fuller, A., Unwin, L., Ashton, D., Butler, P., & Lee, T. 2005, "Surveying the scene: learning
metaphors, survey design and the workplace context", Journal of Education and Work, vol. 18, no. 4,
pp. 359-383.
Health Executive Advisory Group 2004, Future proofing the profession, CILIP.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. 1991, Situated Learning - Legitimate peripheral participation Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge.
Lewis, S. 2009, “I work in a hospital library, that makes me a health librarian, doesn’t it?” Paper submitted
for the 10th International Congress on Medical Librarianship, 31 August to 4 September 2009,
Brisbane, Queensland
Petrinic, T. & Urquhart, C. 2007, "The education and training needs of health librarians;the generalist
versus specialist dilemma", Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 167-176.
Robinson, L. & Hilger-Ellis, J. 2005, "Healthcare librarians and learner support: a review of competences
and methods", Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 22, no. s2, pp. 42-50.
UCL Library Services
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